Jon Stewart Responds to the Louis CK Scandal on ‘Today’: “We All Could’ve Done More”
Comedian and former Daily Show host Jon Stewart was on the Today show Tuesday morning to help promote his charity comedy event Night of Too Many Stars. Matt Lauer dutifully asked Stewart for a comment on last week’s allegations of sexual misconduct that Louis C.K. sexually harassed women by masturbating in front of them behind closed doors, allegations that C.K. admitted were true in a statement. Stewart, a friend and colleague of C.K.’s, who actually had him on as his last guest on The Daily Show, responded that he was “stunned” by the news.
“You give your friends the benefit of the doubt,” Stewart said, alluding to friends with compulsions they’re working through. “You always find yourself back to a moment of, ‘Did I miss something? Could I have done something more?’ In this situation, we all could have. So you feel anger at what he’s done to people.”
Stewart went on to discuss what many have described as a toxic environment for women in comedy. “Comedy on its best day is not a great environment for women. It’s gotten better over the years, but certainly when we started 30 years ago, it was really difficult. And so to do it was an act of bravery in itself. The idea that there was this added layer of pressure and manipulation and fear and humiliation … and I don’t want to make this like ‘Louie was the only one in the business.’ It’s not; it’s endemic.”
“I think it’s a question of [men are] used to being in charge. And I think if you talk to women, they are in a very difficult position. You get mad at yourself, too, for laughing it off or thinking ‘That didn’t happen.'”
On the subject of laughing it off, the Chicago Tribune yesterday published a video clip of Stewart being asked about the stories surrounding C.K. and sexual misconduct that had been swirling around for years. Stewart’s response to the question was … not ideal.